I was on my way home from work the other day after 12 hours out switching chemical rail cars in and around the big up-graders in Ft. Saskatchewan. I was totally worn out and starving, but it was a evening when my wife and kids were going to be out. I was going to have to make my own supper. Then I saw it! driving south down Gateway Blvd... a buffet... all you can eat for $12.99.
I bought a newspaper and headed in to feed my already fat face. There I sat for three-quarters of an hour, reading my paper and scarfing down enough to feed three families for a week. When I looked around, I saw more than a few tables with one person sitting at them doing just what I was doing... eating too much and reading.
Then it occurred to me how ridiculous the scene around me was. We Albertans are so concerned about the progressive demise of our universal health care system, yet we are killing ourselves over-eating, smoking and drinking.
When I walk down the streets I see a society where more than half of us are overweight... sometimes grossly so. Many of us smoke... a lot of us drink... a majority of us lead sedentary lives, driving to and from wherever we have to go.
We have so distanced ourselves from natural, healthy lives we're inviting disaster. We buy most of our food from chain grocery stores... food that comes from corporate distributors, grown and raised in the most unnatural conditions and then preserved with chemicals we can't even pronounce. And if that isn't dangerous enough, we've become gluttons. Because our food has no relationship to the labour we do, it is simply too easy to eat too much.
I'm just as suspicious as the next Albertan when it comes to what our government is doing with our health care system. I'm concerned that employees within the system can't speak freely about problems they experience. I can't understand why the Stollery Childrens' Hospital has to get a large portion of its funding through a telethon and corporate sponsorship. I think Albertans have every right to be on guard and worried.
Sitting in that buffet with all those other people eating too much, I felt a sense of shame. We can't continue to depend on our health care system when we aren't doing our share to take care of ourselves.
It's time to step away from buffet table. It's time to take the steps necessary to make sure we don't need the health care system to take care of our own gluttony and sloth.